Michigan cuts back on outbreak reporting as COVID-19 number rises – Community News
Covid-19

Michigan cuts back on outbreak reporting as COVID-19 number rises

Michigan identified 107 new COVID-19 outbreaks last week, including 46 related to K-12 schools and 39 related to long-term care facilities.

As it has been for more than a year, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services updated its online outbreak report on Monday afternoon, Dec. 6. But instead of offering regional outbreak data on 16 types of institutions, the state now only reports outbreak data on a select six institution types.

dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the state’s medical director, said the decision to reduce reporting requirements for local health departments was taken in an effort to ease some of the pressure on overstretched staff. She added that the data was likely underreported in the beginning because of the difficulties in tracking cases.

“It requires a lot of detail of the investigation of a case that people sometimes don’t feel comfortable sharing and so even when health departments reported that information, it may have underestimated the kind of transmission that happened in those environments,” Bagdasarian said.

“Rather than relying on data that didn’t give us a good idea of ​​what was going on, it was better for several reasons to reduce those reporting requirements.”

Beginning this month, the state outbreak report will only include clusters associated with a long-term care facility, K-12 school, daycare/youth program, prison/prison, health care facility, or shelters.

Weekly reports no longer include outbreak data for manufacturing and construction sites, retail stores, bars and restaurants, social gatherings, office environments, migrant camps, indoor and outdoor community events, personal services and religious services.

Related: 215 infected in 46 coronavirus outbreaks in Michigan schools, per Dec. 6 report

An outbreak is defined by the state health service as two or more cases with a link to place and time indicating a shared exposure outside a household. Ongoing outbreaks are outbreaks that had already been identified in the previous weeks, but of which at least one new associated case has been reported to the local health department in the past 2 weeks.

State officials have long noted that outbreak reporting is likely to be underrepresented due to the lack of cooperation with investigating cases and the difficulty of tracking outbreaks. When asked whether expanded reporting of outbreaks would resume if the number of cases declines, Bagdasarian said many of the current operations will continue to evolve during the remainder of the pandemic.

“My sincere hope is that when we get the number of cases under control, all our efforts, when we identify a single case, will be much greater,” she said. “It’s just not feasible given where we are now in the pandemic.”

Below is an interactive map of active COVID outbreaks listed in the December 6th School Outbreak Report. Hover over a colored dot to view the school and see how many cases were related to the given outbreak.

Can’t see the map? click here

Outside of K-12 schools and colleges, MDHHS does not identify specific locations or number of coronavirus cases. However, it lists the information of the eight health districts of the state. (Note that those regions have different numbers than the MI Safe Start Plan.)

By region, the breakdown of the clusters:

  • Region 1 (Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston and Shiawassee counties): 174 clusters, with 13 new and 161 ongoing outbreaks.
  • Region 2N (Countries Macomb, Oakland, and St. Clair): 72 clusters, with 18 new outbreaks and 54 ongoing outbreaks.
  • Region 2S (Detroit and Monroe City, Washtenaw and Wayne Counties): 64 clusters, with 12 new outbreaks and 52 ongoing outbreaks.
  • Region 3 (Saginaw, Alcona, Iosco, Ogemaw, Arenac, Gladwin, Midland, Bay, Genesee, Tuscola, Lapeer, Sanilac, and Huron counties) counties: 226 clusters, with 24 new outbreaks and 202 ongoing outbreaks.
  • Region 5 (Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Branch, St Joseph, Cass, Berrien, Van Buren, and Kalamazoo counties) 61 clusters, with 13 new and 48 ongoing outbreaks.
  • Region 6 (clare, Ionia, Isabella, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Neways, Oceana, Osceola and Ottawa counties): 139 clusters, with 22 new outbreaks and 117 ongoing outbreaks.
  • Region 7 (Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Benzie, Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Oscoda, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Ilse, Cheboygan, Emmet and Charlevoix counties): 54 clusters, with four new and 50 sustained outbreaks.
  • Region 8 (Upper Peninsula): 33 clusters, with one new and 32 ongoing outbreaks.

The total outbreaks per category were:

  • 557 clusters (46 new and 511 ongoing) in K-12 schools.
  • 188 clusters (39 new and 149 ongoing) in long-term care facilities, including skilled nursing and assisted living homes, adult day care and group homes.
  • 43 clusters (15 new and 28 ongoing) occurred in day care centers or non-school youth programs.
  • 15 clusters (four new and 11 ongoing) in prisons and prisons.
  • 11 clusters (three new and eight ongoing) were located in healthcare locations, including hospitals, medical and dental offices, dialysis centers and other facilities that provide health services.
  • Nine clusters (all on foot) at homeless people or other shelters.

Outbreaks will be removed from the database if there are no additional cases during a 14-day period, state MDHHS officials said.

“Many factors, including the lack of ability to effectively trace contact in certain environments, can lead to significant underreporting of outbreaks,” the state’s website said.

For more nationwide data, visit MLive’s coronavirus data page, here. To find a testing location near you, check out the state’s online testing locator here, email [email protected], or call 888-535-6136 between 8am and 5pm on weekdays.

If you have questions about COVID-19 that you would like answered, please send them to [email protected] to be eligible for future MLive reporting.

Read more on MLive:

Michigan reports 16,590 cases, 127 deaths in 3 days ending Monday, December 6.

‘This is an unnecessary death, day after day,’ say health officials as COVID-19 pushes hospitals to capacity

New cases drop, but Michigan continues to lead the country in COVID hospitalizations, deaths

COVID-19 Q&A: How do mask mandates affect school outbreaks? Where can I get a booster?

Moderna’s President: Vaccines May Struggle With the COVID-19 Omicron Variant